Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

How is everyone doing? I hope well :) I'm feeling much better, finally! The vertigo is not completely gone, but at least is not constant. However, what makes me feel so happy is that my parents are home!! They've been gone for 2.5 months, on a trip to Vietnam :) Seems like they had lot of fun and I think it did them a world of good :) It's really nice to have them back and a full house now :P

Today, I've decided to review How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf... Thought it'd be nice, since I've been waiting for the sequel :) Enjoy the review!


How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
published by Simon & Schuster in February 2011
Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham-who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska-has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he's not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated...
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Naked Werewolf, Book #1

The Story: After the end of her engagement with a man who was exactly the opposite of what her parents want, Mo figures it's time that she puts some distance between her and her hippy parents... and thus, move as far as possible while staying in the US: Grundy, Alaska.

Getting accustomed to Alaska's weather and being one of the only eligible woman in town takes time... but it's nothing compared to discovering that werewolves do exist for real and that your neighbor is one... and that you're kind of falling for him. However, being with Cooper Graham is complicated. First, there have been sighting of wolves and a few attacks... and Cooper can't rule out it was him. Then, there's his estranged relationship with his family that has been a weight on his shoulder and is not getting any lighter with the attacks. Can this work out?

My Opinion: So I picked How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf because I read Ms Harper's Jane Jameson vampire series last year (already?!?) and really enjoyed it. Ms Harper has a breezy writing style and a wicked sense of humor and I was hoping to enjoy them in her new series :) It's just unfortunate for me that I ran into some little issues as well ^_^;

What I liked about the book was the heroine, Mo :) I liked that Mo was finally taking charge of her life. Mo and her parents - mother in particular - have a difficult relationship. Her parents could be considered as extremist hippies - against meat, against capitalism, against processed sugar, etc. and have never really forgotten Mo for breaking from the mold. That means her mother regularly breaks into her place to throw out all the unhealthy junk she eats and Mo often does things just to be contrary. However, when Mo realizes she was going to marry a guy - not out of love, but because his type was all what her parents despise, it's like a reality check of Mo. Time to live her life for herself and thus the move. I thought it showed Mo's strength, but also her courage. Also, I really like her personality and manner, she was fun and reminded me a lot of Jane, but a bit more level-headed. I guess discovering that the paranormal is real is easier to deal with than turning into a vampire :P

I thought Ms Harper handled Mo's move to Grundy, Alaska pretty well. We got some nice introductions to the little town, some of the important players and to the cold LOL. I think whenever there's a book set in Alaska, the cold is always factored in and it makes it more realistic, because it's really an important element. I liked the little town and the sense of community there was - it felt a bit like back in a western, the pioneer feeling. And I think the pacing contributed to the feeling. Ms Harper took her time getting Mo settled and I enjoyed that part of the story :) Sometimes, authors seem to rush things along to get to "the" story, but not Ms Harper and I appreciated that.

So what were the issues? Well, the hero, Cooper Graham. I never really warmed up to him and as a result, I never warmed up to the romance either. I just didn't find him interesting ^_^; And that was quite the surprise, because after all, he's the werewolf and I was looking forward to get to know their world. We've glimpsed a little of werewolves in the Jane Jameson series and I was hoping there'd be a bit more links between the two series... Anyway, Cooper being the werewolf, I thought he'd be more interesting, more appealing... but he wasn't. Part of it was the character/man himself. He's  the quiet, silent type that seems very broody and surly. Also, he had quite a lot of baggage that he didn't seem able to handle. I don't know, but to me, it took a little bit away from his manliness. Women look for safety and security with man, or at least, I do, but I never felt like Cooper could provided it to Mo. It seems when things became overwhelming, he ran :( Another reason I might not have warmed to him is because the narration is from Mo's POV, so it skews things a little. It worked in the Jane Jameson series because Jane was turned in a vampire, but in this case, Mo is still human - so the werewolf aspect is not complete. In any case, I had difficulty understanding why Mo would fall for him, besides the fact that sex was hot ^_^;

Aside from the romance, there was a little intrigue with the wolves attacks that was used to introduced Cooper's past. Overall, it was okay - no real surprise there.

My Grade: C-. It might seem pretty tough as a grade, but I guess it's because I had high expectations ^_^; How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf shares a lot of similarity with the Jane Jameson series - great, quirky heroine with a dysfunctional family who discovers that the paranormal exists... And while the Jane Jameson series didn't have a great hero either, it got away because of Jane's tribulations as a vampire, a solid cast of secondary characters and Jane's overall growth throughout the series. As a result, Ms Harper's writing style which borders chick-lit works well. How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf just doesn't seem to have the same edge to it... and therefore, combined with a not so lovable hero and lukewarm romance, suffers :( Hoping however that The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf will be better... and LOL, I can't help but think that the woman on the cover really fits my image of Maggie ^_^;

13 comments:

  1. I finished this last week I think. And i was a little let down too. It wasn't as good as the jane series. Which was a bummer. I liked Mo. I enjoyed her story but just something didn't grab me like the jane books dids. Which by the way, i heard there will be a 4th jane book.

    The second book is maggie's story and I didn't really care for her in this one so I don't know if i'll read that one or not.

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  2. I have been toying with reading this book for a while, but I wasn't clear on what it was about.

    I might give it a try, I sometimes can get by with a less-than-stellar hero if the heroine is nice.

    Thanks for the awesome and honest review.

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  3. I think I'll put this one on the possible TBR list for now. I'll wait and see if the series gets better before starting it.

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  4. Aww too bad the romance was lukewarm for you. I hate when that happens. Maybe the 2nd book will be better!

    I've been seeing reviews of this book everywhere...is the writing any similar to Heather Webber? Will I like her books? I've been debating about picking up one of the JJ vampire books. But once again the covers throws me off. Lol.

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  5. Isabel - I'm glad it wasn't just me, Izzy!! Because I saw so many good reviews for this one and I thought "What am I missing?"

    I really think one of the best part of the Jane Jameson series is Jane going through the transition to human to vampire :) That's what makes the series so funny.

    Oh, I didn't know about the 4th Jane book!! That would be awesome :P

    Alex - I'll try the Jane Jameson series instead Alex, if it's the first time you read this author :)

    Sometimes, you can overlook a weak aspect of a book, but in this case, it really affected the romance in my opinion, so no can't overlook it :(

    Leslie - Well it seems this series will only have two books... so I would recommend the Jane Jameson series instead... Hmmm, I think the first book is "Nice Girls Don't have Fangs"

    Tabitha - Well the 2nd book feature another couple... so perhaps.

    I think Ms Harper's writing style is a bit more witty and sarcastic than Ms Webber. The feeling is a bit different, but I think that you could enjoy it :)

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  6. Great review Nath. I've also seen quite a few reviews for this book and thought about picking it up. I was going to ask a few questions, but they've all been asked by Leslie and Tabitha.

    I'll pick up the Jane books instead (which I've considered doing before), and go from there. :)

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  7. I love witty and sarcastic! Bbbbut -- is the romance satisfactory? Lol

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  8. H'mmm. Actually, I liked this, it being a little different among a genre that's got way too many ferocious brooding uber-alpha males in it. It was a bit paint by numbers but overall enjoyable. I didn't have any problem with the romance either - Mo's characterization seemed to me to be that of a person long accustomed and quite happy about being in charge, and I don't think she'd react well to a man who wanted to take over - I could quite easily see her ruling the roost and him cheerfully providing the muscle.

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  9. Hilcia - Thanks Hils :) Glad I already answered your questions and I highly recommend the Jane Jameson series :P

    Tabitha - Hmmmm, I wouldn't read the Jane Jameson series for the romance, no.

    FD - Hey FD! Long time no see! Where have you been? :)

    True, you're right, Cooper didn't fit the werewolf mold and in that sense, he stood out. I didn't necessarily need him to be uber-alpha, but I needed to find him likable. I mean, I like grouchy characters, but perhaps with this kind of narration - from Mo's POV, I didn't get to know him as much as I would like to appreciate him to the fullest.

    Also, once again, you're right, Mo doesn't really need taking care. However, she does need someone who can stand on his own.

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  10. University argh. I'm playing hooky.

    Actually on reflection I agree with you about the characterisation - it was a bit thin even given that we only got Mo's pov. I think that's what I meant by paint by numbers, Cooper's character was sort of a collection of genre shorthand tropes and I didn't really mind/notice because I liked the novelty of it when used with a less alpha hero.

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  11. FD - How much longer do you still have to go? :)

    I'm glad you agree with me :) It's not that Cooper was really bad, it's just that not getting any POV from him, it was hard to get a sense, a feel for him and as such, I just didn't find him that engaging.

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    Body Language

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  13. Adelaine - Thanks Adelaine :) and Welcome to my blog :)

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